UN expresses concern over further massacres of civilians in Congo

Thursday, August 30, 2012
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Geneva/Kinshasa: The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and the UN Stabilization mission (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) expressed concern over further massacres of civilians in the Eastern region of North Kivu.

The UN Joint Human Rights office (UNJHRO) Representative in Kinshasa, Scott Campbell said that there had been "a spate of killings, burning of villages, attacks against civilians since the beginning of April, and the victims of these attacks have been primarily women and children."

Through four missions to the remote affected area and dozens of interviews with victims and witnesses, UNJHRO had documented since May more than 45 attacks on some 30 villages and towns in the Ufamandu I and II areas in Masisi territory.

Some of the attacks which had been carried out by the armed group Raïa Mutomboki and others by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), at times in coalition with the armed group Nyatura resulted in serious human rights violations including civilian massacres and the destruction and looting of homes and property, as well as the mass displacement of thousands of civilians.

The attacks on villages by Raïa Mutomboki and the FDLR occurred in the context of an increase in security vacuums exacerbated by army desertions in April, the subsequent creation of the M23 armed group and the redeployment of Congolese Army (FARDC) units to contain it.

Campbell said that many of the armed groups had also taken advantage of that situation to expand their own area of influence, often carrying out brutal attacks against civilians in the process.

Taking stock of the situation, the UN High Commissioner called on all armed groups to immediately cease attacks against civilians and noted the possible consequences for those responsible for such attacks, referring to the recent sentencing by the International Criminal Court of former rebel leader Thomas Lubanga.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC, Roger Meece in turn noted with grave concern that the M23 mutiny had required MONUSCO and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) to divert resources away from some areas, while underscoring MONUSCO's recent civilian protection activity in localities most affected by Raïa Mutomboki and FDLR. In addition, Meece was encouraged by a recent commitment from the Congolese authorities to deploy troops to these areas and reiterated the priority the Mission accords to civilian protection. -UNifeed
Next Post »